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Let us honour and preserve  the kōrero whaiaro and mātauranga of kaumātua from across Aotearoa. Kaumātua kauapa  is rooted in tikanga and story sovereignty and takes the form photographic portraiture combined with Māori oral histories. Kaumatua is a taonga for whānau, iwi, hāpori, and Aotearoa whānui.


Kaumātua, elders born around the 1940s and earlier, have lived through a lot of societal change in Aotearoa. Kaumātua are pātaka kōrero and we continue to learn from them, moving into the future with their words, soaking up the richness of their kōrero. Kaumātua are healers who share their stories of a past so that it will be remembered.


May we bring mana to our kaumatua, read what they share, and ignite further kōrero.

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"I was fifty-nine when I first learned who my ancestors were and where Māori came from. As a kid, I didn’t even know what Papatūānuku or Ranginui were".

Rānana, Sandringham, Auckland Tamaki Makaurau

Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua

"My parents did everything to send me to St Stephen’s. It was so expensive. They had to kill a cow or a pig to pay for the fees, or sell bags of kumara or potatoes. But then, this is what most families did".

Matua Hare Paniora, Owairaka, Auckland Tamaki Makaurau


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Before we got off the bus, our driver said, ‘You’re not allowed to talk Māori here once you go through the gate. You’ll all get punished for speaking Māori.’ We were all worried because most of us were quite limited with English.

Hēni Goldsmith Owairaka, Auckland Tamaki Makaurau

My first home in Tāmaki was the Methodist Māori Girls’ Hostel in Remuera. I was in a Māori world and living in this suburb that had a Māori name – Remuera! I felt very much at home.


Lynda Toki, Maniapoto

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